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Sarah Ludford: New directive will guarantee all suspects know their rights

December 19, 2011 11:19 AM

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the endorsement by the European Parliament of a new EU Directive guaranteeing all criminal suspects information about their rights and the evidence against them.

The Directive would ensure that all people arrested or detained in an EU country would be given information about their procedural rights in an easily understandable form.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"The core of the new measure is that everyone arrested will be handed a 'letter of rights' setting out their entitlements such as the right to have a lawyer, have consular authorities informed and get urgent medical care. This already happens in the UK so we will not have problems complying, but it will be of major benefit in raising standards for Brits arrested abroad or extradited under a European Arrest Warrant."

"Being arrested abroad can be a frightening experience. Nobody should have their right to a fair trial denied. Disgracefully, some EU states still fail to meet the requirements of the European Convention of Human Rights guaranteeing respect for the rights of the defence and the importance of an EU measure is that it comes with enforcement powers."